Recent amendments to the Fair Work Regulations 2009 (Cth) have passed the Australian Senate after Palmer United Party Senators joined with Coalition Senators.
The amendments to the regulations will allow the government of Western Australia and interested third parties to make applications to the Fair Work Commission to have protected industrial action terminated pursuant to section 424 of the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth) (the "Act"). The federal government (and all other state and territory governments) have been able to make such applications to the Commission since 2009 when they referred their industrial relations powers to the Commonwealth.
Extending the jurisdiction of section 424 applications to third parties is a significant move. It will allow parties who are affected by industrial action to approach the Fair Work Commission and request that this action be terminated. This could include, for example, clients or joint venture partners of employers whose operations are slowed or suspended because of industrial action.